St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA

North Side

The classically designed St. Thomas the Apostle Church sits amid mature trees at the front of a large compound housing a school, the rectory, a pastoral center and an ample parking lot in a historic area of the gold-rush town of Oroville. The building houses beautiful stained-glass windows, lovely statues and a sacred sanctuary, all of which have been present for nearly a century as the parish has grown from its 1857 roots. The 800-family, culturally-mixed parish hosts four weekend Masses, including a 7 p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass in Spanish; as well as daily Masses from Tuesday – Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Address: 1330 Bird Street, Oroville, CA 95965
Phone: (530) 533-0262
Website: https://orovillecatholic.org/
Current Pastor: Rev. Godwin Xavier

Interesting Features to See
The church has exterior features to take note of, as well as with numerous sacred elements inside.

• The classical design of the building including the tall side tower and triangular, peaked decorative entrance with a tympanum decorated by a Biblically-inspired Last Judgement scene is very stirring.
• The sanctuary beneath the two-tiered round arch, within sky blue walls studded with clouds, forms a magnificent location for the celebration of the Mass.
• The statues and Stations of the Cross have been part of the church since 1929, and have been refurbished for worshippers’ contemplation.
• There are nearly twenty stained-glass windows featuring meaningful liturgical subjects.

References
All websites were accessed on or about 8-27-2021 and are considered to be useful, reliable and secure, but users should view the websites at their own discretion. The author or the website https://www.churchwonders.com is not responsible for those sites’ code or content.

Books
Avella, Steven M., Fr. The Diocese of Sacramento, A Journey of Faith. Ireland: Booklink, 2006.

Hathaway, Ethel. History of St. Thomas Church. Printed by Quadco Printing, Inc. 1986.

Websites

Christian Iconography – St. Thomas – christianiconography.info/Thomas/html

Churchwonders.com – Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary – https://churchwonders.com/2021/06/12/hearts-of-love-sacred-heart-of-jesus-and-immaculate-heart-of-mary/

St. Thomas the Apostle Parish – https://orovillecatholic.org/

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA – Architecture & Grounds

The current St. Thomas the Apostle Church building dates to 1929 as evidenced by the cornerstone on the southwest corner of the church. The exterior walls are faced with locally-sourced red bricks from the old Lund’s Brick Plant in Palermo, about six miles from Oroville. The double-story-high structure has Romanesque features with a tall, adjoining tower marked by rounded-arch windows on the west; and a majestic entrance featuring a scened-tympanum beneath a triangular pediment over the double-doors leading inside.

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA – Stained-glass Window of the Patron Saint Thomas

Visitors to the church are blessed with many colorful and unique stained-glass windows to contemplate. There is a large round window high on each end of the structure with the Holy Family on the east and the patron St. Thomas on the west to bookend the congregation with grace.

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA – Statues on the Choir Loft

The small church is sufficiently, but sparsely, interspersed with statues and images of Jesus, Mary and the Saints.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is clearly important to the parish as, in addition to the statue in the niche to the right of the sanctuary, there are two related statues on the facing of the choir loft, as well as a stained-glass window.

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oroville, CA – Statues on the side altars

On either side of the sanctuary are niches holding statues of Mary and the Child Jesus on the left (north) and Jesus with His Sacred Heart on the right (south). The background of the niches is the same puffy-white-cloud motif as in the sanctuary providing a nice framing. Both statues are apparent in photographs of the church at its outset in 1929, but have been repainted in striking colors from the original coatings of primarily white.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: